Course Review: Frontiers in Translational Medicine (part 2)

Hello! It’s vacation time. But, the students of Master’s program in Biomedicine are technically on a study break! We  began the second part of Frontiers in Translational Medicine the very next day after our exams. Needless to say, we were all a bit tired. However, all the grumpiness manifested into excitement as the classes progressed. As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, the course is split into different sections and we studied Neuroscience and Cancer this time.

The Neuro section involved lectures about the prevailing Neurological disorders, their clinical aspects, molecular mechanisms and the role of immune system in the disorder. The major focus was on Multiple Sclerosis and we had many lectures from medical doctors. The initial week included patient demos where we met patients who were stabilized/ cured by one of the many drugs we had studied so much about. It was extremely interesting for me since it was the first time I interacted with patients.

As we improved our understanding of neurological disorders, we were introduced to the labs. Among the techniques that were demonstrated, I liked Brain Imaging the most mainly because it was completely new to me. We were split into small groups and asked to detect and score various brain defects. This not only helped me test my understanding of the lectures we previously had, I was also able to understand the brain anatomy much better. Not having done much of Neurology during my bachelor’s, I always imagined it is an extremely tough area of research. However, the lectures and the labs opened up an entirely new world for me.

Soon after, we began lectures about Cancer. I must admit that this week has been my favorite so far. Each lecture dealt with one particular hallmark of cancer. We studied about the hallmarks in complete detail using examples of different cancers. I really liked the way the focus was always on the mechanism of various cancers. The schedule was very well structured with lectures in the morning and labs in the afternoon.

We were split into groups for the lab and were given an objective and a set of available methods. There was complete independence for us to plan the techniques we wanted to use and design different experiments to achieve the given objective. The labs were available after the lectures for a whole week and we were given ample guidance if required. Each group had to make a short presentation and explain the results obtained.

My team mates in the flow cytometry facility at KI. (So intense!)

With the conclusion of this long course, I have learnt a lot about the various disease mechanisms and the possible targets for drug and also challenges involved in research. Most of us have decided on the field we want to get into for our future projects. More importantly, we are also aware of what we would not pick. The course has not only helped us choose our niche, it has also given sufficient background knowledge to be able to start working in the projects.

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